Welcome to Startups Weekly, a nuanced look at this week’s startup news and trends by Senior Reporter and Equity co-host Natasha Mascarenhas. Subscribe to receive it in your inbox here.
First of all hello to all the new Startups Weekly subscribers who joined us after last week’s newsletter. I’m glad we’re all still resonate with a comeback story. Second, here are some basics about what to expect.
I start most of these newsletters with a mini essay on what’s on my mind, sometimes pointing to one of my longer pieces of the week or just to share some extra thoughts at the end of the news cycle. Then I jump into three themes that stand out during the week, with additional reading for those who want to dig in more. I’ll end with notes from the tech blogosphere, TC events and, if you look closely enough, personal anecdotes often related to coffee and food. Ok, now to the aforementioned essay!
It all started with a sound. More specific, an SEC filing from Sound Ventures, the venture of actor and entrepreneur Ashton Kutcher, confirmed plans to create an artificial intelligence-focused venture. Bloomberg estimates that the new investment vehicle could total about $200 million dollars at close.
While Kutcher’s company has been around for a long time and has gone through enough hype cycles not to be easily swayed one way or another, the filing made me curious. Will we see more celebrity-led venture companies jump on the AI bandwagon? Especially since crypto, the old favorite sector of the hype train, has been sputtering and struggling for the past few months?
If you ask me, I bet we won’t see the same stream of celebrities wanting to promote AI products on their Instagram stories the way they advertised [insert coin offering here]. It’s complicated and I could be completely wrong. Read my full take on TC+: “Will AI get the same celebrity-fueled hype that crypto once did? It’s complicated.”
In the rest of this newsletter, we’ll talk about eggflating, tricky integration, and breaking traditions. As always you can follow me Twitter or Instagram to continue the conversation. I also write on my personal blog, if you want to follow along with the 1,835 other people who get hung up and be too long-winded.
One of my favorite pastimes is going to the grocery store, so as you can imagine, I’m aggressively attuned to the changing prices of eggs these days. Thankfully, there’s a startup angle to tell us more. TC’s Christine Hall wrote about how higher egg prices have created a greater demand for alternatives. If you’re like me and just know Just Egg, this story is enlightening for so many reasons.
Here’s why it’s important, Hall tells me: “There was no definite yes or no about hitting the gas pedal [alternative egg startups] bring out more product. I was hoping someone would say yes, startups should go for it, or no, this is just a passing thing and they should wait. So maybe this kind of environment presents a very mangled opportunity, pun intended.
Figure about it
The DOJ is preparing to file a lawsuit to block the $20 billion Adobe-Figma deal announced last year because it is anti-competitive, early Bloomberg reports say. If the DOJ passes, it could be shocking to tech companies both large and small who have been taking notes on what a mass exit could look like.
Here’s why it’s important: It’s not a surprise, but more confirmation of some early concerns. At the time of the announcement, the deal was largely seen as Adobe taking out one of its biggest rivals in the design world. Immediately, people including TC’s Ingrid Lunden sounded a number of alarm bells about Adobe’s future dominance as the platform and tooling leader in the space.
Also, Ehab Bandar, founder of design consultancy Bigtable.co, told gotechbusiness.com in September that “designers, especially cross-functional teams, hate switching software. Any new tool should excel at so many things Figma currently does that it’s hard to imagine any new competitors emerging from the woodwork. Others saw a potential liquidity event as an opportunity to usher in a new generation of creative and perhaps entrepreneurial designers.
Remember when the IPO market was a stampede between bonanza, party, and nerd? We follow past public market talks with our latest issue of Equity, titled Scooters and Social Media Companies Are Surprising IPO Candidates. Come for our analysis, stay for our anger at the term ‘proficorn’.
Here’s why it’s important: Reportedly, both Reddit and Lime are looking at public market debuts this year, which took your dear hosts completely by surprise. We’ve been much more focused on Stripe, which expects an exit in the next 12 months, and Instacart, which previously delayed its IPO. The growing list of potential candidates tells us that some companies think they’re doing well enough that the Nasdaq isn’t a scary acronym. FTX only, now.
Seen on gotechbusiness.com
Sensitive emails from the US military are coming online
Modernizing 911 Calls with Found’s Michael Chime
SignalFire founder says his VC firm lost staffers in previous years who ‘thought we were too cheap’
Elon Musk suggests Twitter could open its algorithm “next week.”
Seen on gotechbusiness.com+
Pitch Deck Teardown: Uber’s $200K Pre-Seed Deck From 2008
Is ocean conservation the next climate technology? 7 investors explain why they’re all-in
The $100 million venture round is dying out
5 Questions Emerging Managers Should Ask Before Selecting LPs
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